Davis Cup: Netherlands lead holder France 1-0
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Adrian Mannarino sent defending champion France through to the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup, rallying from a set and 5-3 down Sunday to beat Robin Haase of the Netherlands 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5, 6-7 (2), 7-5 in a topsy-turvy World Group encounter.
After 4 hours, 20 minutes of an arduous contest featuring 34 break-point chances, Haase’s miscued volley at net went out and gave Mannarino match point. He took it following a brief rally when Haase failed to return a whipped forehand into his feet. Mannarino punched the air as the French team celebrated wildly and poured water over Mannarino’s head. The exhausted Haase walked straight off court having played 10 hours over three days.
France has an insurmountable 3-1 lead ahead of the final reverse singles later Sunday and plays Italy in the last eight in April.
The 25th-ranked Mannarino had more winners than Haase – 61 to 47 – but was wasteful in converting only four of his 26 break-point chances, while Haase took three of his eight. Mannarino had 21 aces to Haase’s 19.
Mannarino, a late replacement for the injured Lucas Pouille, made up for his upset defeat on Friday to Thiemo de Bakker, ranked 369th. Richard Gasquet made it 1-1 by beating Haase, before Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert beat Haase and Jean-Julien Rojer on Saturday for a 2-1 lead for France.
Early on, Haase looked sharp against a cautious Mannarino. The 42nd-ranked Dutchman broke for a 2-1 lead when Mannarino patted a woeful forehand wide, and then served two aces for 3-1. He could have secured a double break but Mannarino saved the fifth game with an ace at 30-40.
Haase was more aggressive than Mannarino in the first set and covered the court well. A volley at the net gave him set point and he sealed it with an ace. He broke the Frenchman in the seventh game of the second set and held for 5-3. But Mannarino broke back for 5-5 after Haase cracked first in a 35-shot rally. Mannarino edged a tense tiebreaker and appeared to have the momentum.
Haase saved break points in his first three service games of the third set. Finally, Mannarino’s pressure paid off when he broke to love for 6-5 and clinched the set on serve. But then it was Mannarino’s turn to waver as he was broken when serving for the match at 5-4 in the fourth set. Haas then dominated the tiebreaker to send the match into a deciding set.
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